Erlend Øye and La Comitiva, music as an accompaniment to life

Erlend Øye and La Comitiva, music as an accompaniment to life

Erlend Øye's love for Italy it began to sprout from the first tricolor passes of the Kings of Conveniencein concert for the first time in our area in 2001. As time passed, the bond with Italy became so strong that it convinced the Norwegian musician to move in 2012 to Syracuse, in Sicily. Here Erlend Øye made his first friends, discovered Italian music and met a trio of Sicilian musicians, La Comitivaborn Stefano Ortisi, Luigi Orofino and Marco Castello.

Together, Erlend Øye and La Comitiva have shaped a sound with a summer flavor that mixes local and Mediterranean sounds with South American influences, as well as the acoustic pop signature Kings of Convenience, of which the 48-year-old artist is the soul and founding member with Eirik Glambek Bøe. After starting to work side by side in 2018 almost for fun, Erlend Øye and La Comitiva ended up perform in different parts of the world, from South America to Europe, treasuring for their music every influence and culture touched upon. Now, the live experiences and the songs written together become an album which, simply titled “La Comitiva”, will be available on digital platforms from next May 17thafter the end of the tour which will start on April 16th from Milan.

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Erlend Øye and The Comitiva

When it we catch up via Zoom to let us tell us about his experience and new adventures with La Comitiva, Erlend Øye he just finished a concert in Australia for the Kings of Convenience tour in support of their latest album, “Peace or love”. “This Kings of Convenience tour is quite demanding,” he explains from the other side of the hemisphere, speaking in Italian: “But we are everyone is ready and excited for the new album and the tour with La Comitiva”. The tour will stop on April 16th Milan (Santeria Toscana 31), on 17 April Turin (Hiroshima Mon Amour), April 18th Padua (Hall of the Giants), April 19th Bologna (Locomotiv) and on April 20th Rome (Monk).

Erlend is then echoed by Stefano Ortisi, reached by Rockol again via Zoom but connected from California. “This project has existed for six years and we have been working in the studio for six years. Working with Erlend I learned to know a type of artist who is very meticulous in the studio”, says Stefano: “After Covid we also had the opportunity to play a lot live and now we are finally dotting the i's: many of the songs we recorded in these years will be on the album and with the new tour we will finally tour Europe too. Then, we are also working on a tour of South America for the winter. We will see”.

The discavailable from April on vinyl before the digital release and created by Øye together with Stefano Ortisi, Luigi Orofino and Marco Castello, contains many songs that the Comitiva audience has already heard livein addition to the singles “Mornings and Afternoons” And “Ruggiero's wedding”. The album, reveals the Norwegian musician, will also include a song entitled “You and only you”, composed recently.

I'm very curious what the public's reaction will be”, explains Øye: “Even though we have already played many of the songs from the album live and have released some singles, the album in its entirety conveys a much clearer idea of ​​the Band”. She adds: “The album includes half songs in Italian, half songs in English and half instrumental pieces. They all look like they come from an old Italian moviebut no one knows exactly which one. It sounds like film music. And the film is life”.

And Stefano Ortisi underlines: “This album has so many different things that represent the essence of us in the Comitiva, a group of people who like to meet, be together, eat, then play. And play whatever comes to mind.” And he continues: “Our strong point for me is the fact that we are able to bring this air of home and friends to the stagewho enjoy spending time together playing and sharing time.”

The music of the bandas well as the title of the album, says Erlend Øye, comes from being together and their natural way of playing. “Meeting, eating together, playing for hours and hours: this is how our songs are born. AND for me it is also an infinite schoolbecause I, Stefano, Marco and Luigi are great music lovers and we combine our aptitudes and knowledge”, says the musician: “The music we try to make is always based on the idea of ​​acoustic instruments and rhythm. Among the influences that can be heard, there is certainly a bit of bossa nova, bolero, Cuban and Mexican music. But we don't think too much about genre when we make musicjust how we can play in a rhythmic way, with acoustic instruments.”

On how the bond between Erlend and La Comitiva was born, the word passes to Stefano: “Erlend and I met thanks to some mutual friends. Around 2015 and 2016 a group of people, including me and others, we started meeting on the street playing songs we liked to playespecially South American and Latin American, Sicilian and Brazilian. And Erland was one of us So we started playing together, not actually his songs or ours”, explains Ortisi: “For him it was also an effort to be able to fit into these songs because it was absolutely not his genre, before then he had never played this type of songs.

Moreover, .they had just given him this ukulele with which he then started writing all the songs that we now have with La Comitiva. So we started getting closer and doing things together. Then, little by little, this project was born, quite naturally.” On the birth of the name “La Comitiva”, Stefano adds: “When Erlend moved to Syracuse he started hanging out with local people, some friends of mine. With this group of friends was called 'the group'. This term stuck with him and during our first tour in South America we decided to create a real project, choosing to call it 'La Comitiva'”.

What words could you choose to describe La Comitiva, Therefore? “Cinematic and light”, replies Øye: “Definitely not dramatic, the opposite of melancholy. I've made several things that are a bit depressing, and there's a lot of music out there at the moment that tends towards sadness to be profound. We try, instead, to making music that is positive even if it talks about personal and profound thingsnot superficial or super happy. We want to make music that accompanies life“.

Thinking about how the various projects he is involved in and Kings of Convenience might influence The Comitiva, Erlend then explains: “Until a few years ago, I always tried to separate the projects. Now I feel that I'm ready not to draw boundaries but, instead, to put everything together. A dream is that Eric sings with us in the future, and that La Comitiva plays with Kings. Which in fact happened during the last concert with Kings in Italy.”

Erlend Øye and his love for Italy

Taking a step back, how Erlend Øye's great relationship with Italy was born? “The first time we came to Italy with Kings of Convenience I remember that we played in a club in Milan in 2001, at the Tunnel. I remember that while talking to people I felt a lightness that I missed in Norway”, says the musician: “I immediately felt that my character works well in Italy, better than in Norway, perhaps. It's not that I immediately thought of moving to Italy. But every time I passed through Italy, it was confirmed that I feel good with Italians, in general.”

Regarding his connection with Italy and Italian culture before moving to Sicily, Øye recalls: “The first thing that struck me about Italy is the way people socializethen the food and then Italian music, but I discovered it very late, just when I moved”. She adds: “I remember when I moved I made friends with people from Syracuse on Facebook, a bit casually, and I noticed the songs that these people often shared. I remember once noticing 'The Appointment' by Ornella Vanoni and thinking: 'Beautiful'. In such a natural way I got to know Italian music, which is a universe apart. Then with the guys from the group I discovered many more things.”

Guest of the Rockol editorial team over ten years ago, Erlend Øye had played live “Great, great great” by Mina. In memory of that cover, in the interview the musician also mentions “The sky in a room” in the version of the great interpreter from Cremona as one of the first songs with which he came into contact with Italian music. “Maybe for some it is something obvious, but for me, who knew nothing, it was a good way to start learning about Italian music”, narrates Øye: “I really like Italian songs where there are few wordsbut which are also very sweet.

I feel that .the Italian language is superior to English at saying these romantic things, in transmitting simple messages to another person. In this way the Italian language is superior to English.”

When asked how he found himself writing songs in Italian, Øye then explains: “Initially I wrote in Norwegian and when I started writing English, it seemed very easy even though it was all new. The same thing happened with 'La prima estate' , the first song I tried to write in Italian. All the words were fresh and it felt like cooking with new ingredients“.

Here is the tracklist of the album “La Comitiva”:

A1. Ruggiero's wedding
A2. Paradise
A3. Lockdown Blues
A4. You And Only You
A5. Altiplano
A6. April's Theme
A7. Valdivia

B1. For The Time Being
B2. Upside Down
B3. Marco's Theme
B4. Bologna
B5. Mornings and Afternoons
B6. January
B7. The Attraction